Groundbreaking document upholds universality and indivisibility
The Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality are founded on the understanding that freedom of expression and equality are foundational rights.
“The Camden Principles demonstrate that the rights to equality and freedom of expression go hand-in-hand and mutually reinforce each other, and that neither one of these indispensable human rights can be achieved at the expense of the other.” With these words Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director introduced a ground breaking document which will guide legislators, policy-makers and civil society alike in balancing the rights to freedom of expression and equality.
On April 23, 2009, ARTICLE 19 an independent human rights organisation that works to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression launched The Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality in Geneva, Switzerland. The Principles reaffirm the perspective that the rights to freedom of expression and equality are mutually supportive rights that play a vital role in safeguarding human dignity, ensuring democracy and promoting international peace and security.
The Principles were drafted by the London based organisation with the participation of a high-level group of UN officials and representatives from other intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and academic experts, following two meetings in London on 11 December 2008 and 23-24. February 2009
It is expected that the document will promote e greater global consensus about the relationship between respect for freedom of expression and the promotion of equality. The ground breaking document will guide legislators, policy-makers and civil society in balancing the rights to freedom of expression and equality.
Difficulties and challenges have often been faced by governments and activists alike when attempting to strike the right balance between free speech and non-discrimination The Principles address such difficult issues as hate speech, the role of the mass media in combating discrimination, and the right of reply. and they counter the disproportionate focus on the tensions between the two rights and the often heard suggestions that the realisation of the right to freedom of expression is incompatible with the realization of the right to equality.
The Camden Principles reaffirm the perspective that the rights to freedom of expression and equality are mutually supportive rights that play a vital role in safeguarding human dignity, ensuring democracy and promoting international peace and security. According to Dr Callamard they are action and policy oriented and offer legal and policy avenues to govern national and international undertakings on the appropriate relationship between the rights of expression and equality” and “They reconcile rights and entitlements which too many have constructed as in opposition or conflict.
The Camden Principles are currently available in five languages and can be downloaded from the following sites:
Camden Principles on Freedom of Expression and Equality [English]
مبادئ كامدن حول حرية التعبير والمساواة [Arabic]
Principes de Camden sur la liberté d’expressionet l’égalité [French]
КЕМДЕНСКИЕ ПРИНЦИПЫ ПО СВОБОДЕ ВЫРАЖЕНИЯ МНЕНИЯ И РАВЕНСТВУ [Russian]
Los Principios de Camden Sobre La Libertad de Expresión y la Igualdad [Spanish]
For more information: please contact Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, at
Tel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660
Web: www.article19.org / Email: